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MH Interviews: Molokidan

+ posted by Lingwe in Interviews on Apr 13, 2009 08:49

Today's interview is with Molokidan, the most advanced manga translating machine available, pumping out dozens of chapters each month. It also has its own AI that is able to mimic human emotion and reactions so we were able to have an interview with it! Heh, sorry couldn't resist. Seriously though, Molokidan holds the record for the most chapters posted on Mangahelpers with over a massive 780 chapters translated at the time of writing. Since he translates less well known and less mainstream chapters he doesn't get nearly enough recognition in my opinion, so you can take the time to say thanks to him here even if you don't usually do it.

Thanks again to bax for the very punctual images this time. :D

1. Please give a short introduction of yourself. What manga you translate, if you are a part of any groups or just freelance etc.

My name's molokidan, I started translating in 2005, when I co-founded maximumT with Flipster in order to get the rest of the Trigun Maximum chapters out in English. During the past few years I've taken time off to work on other things, and helped out groups such as evil-genius, nexgear, illuminati-manga (who I still work with), ignition-one, mangaone, mangadownloads, and many other groups. I much prefer working solo, working with a group seems to provide more problems than anything, as I feel my time is wasted delegating and organizing people when it could be better spent translating. Currently, I only work on projects I'm interested in, so if a group is willing to pick it up, I will let them give it a shot, regardless of who they are.

If you want a detailed list of what I've translated and who I've translated with, check out my profile here on MH. It's hard to believe that I've been at this for over three years.

2. How did you start learning Japanese and for how long? How and why did you start translating manga chapters?

I started learning Japanese when I found myself there during an exchange program in 2004. I started translating manga after coming back to my home country as it seemed like a fun way to continue studying Japanese. When I started translating, it used to take me a long time to do a single chapter. These days, though, it takes me very little time to translate at all, (which is why I'm able to pump them out so fast) so reading novels has become a much better way to increase my vocabulary.

Manga translating for me now is simply a fun past time, and a way to get lesser-known series (such as Umezu Kazuo works and other older classic manga) out to the public. Although it may not seem like it, I'm currently trying to cut down/finish up many of my projects and soon hope to quit fan translating altogether and focus strictly on novels. So if anyone wants to steal projects from me, I welcome it with open arms!

3. What types of manga are your personal favourite? Which manga titles do you like in particular? Any genres that you don't like?

Genres can be misleading sometimes, but I really prefer bizarre stories, stuff that's different from the norm, stories written by authors that aren't afraid to break out of the mold and do what they want without being held back by popular opinion. I also dislike excessive/useless fanservice, and loli-related stuff.

My top titles are: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, anything by Umezu Kazuo, Trigun Maximum, Hunter x Hunter, Detroit Metal City, Riki-Oh, Mephisto, Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi Yo! Masaru-san, and Pyuu to Fuku! Jaguar.

4. How do you feel about the amount of fan feedback and thanks that you get for the work you've done? How do you feel overall seeing people read and discussing the manga that you have translated?

It makes me happy when I see people enjoying the manga I've translated, but I don't take it personally. If readers are enjoying a manga, it's because the author did a good job, and I was merely the vehicle to deliver the manga's charm to people of a different language. Similar to what GGpX said in his interview, if I was doing manga translations simply to gain respect, gratitude, whatever, from other people, I would have long since stopped, because this is a very thankless hobby (even moreso for professional manga translations, who are constantly scorned by fans). Just allowing people the chance to read and enjoy a work that I adore is more than enough for me.

5. Are there any other hobbies or things that you like to work on in your spare time? You like writing in particular, perhaps you could fill us in on the plot of the story you are writing? You're also translating a whole Japanese novel, fill us in on how that is going.

I've been writing since a very small age, and when I got into high school and college I started working rather proactively toward getting something published. I had a brief stint as a magazine reporter, and won a few contests for short science fiction stories, but getting an actual novel published (without self-publishing) is a very hard thing to accomplish unless you dedicate 100% of your efforts toward it, which as a student I just can't bear to do.

I've been uploading my original novel, Shattered Remnants of a Dream, to a blog here: [http://danluffey.blogspot.com] for almost two years now, and I'll be reaching the 100th chapter soon. My goal in starting this story was simply to write what would speculatively be my favorite book to read, so it contains tons of things I like: fantasy, horror, epic battles, dark twists, so on and so forth...I've gotten a fair number of loyal readers during these past couple of years, who constantly comment on the chapters and give me feedback, and it's been a great help for my growth as an author. If you like manga, I think there's a fair chance that you'll like it.

My translation of the Japanese novel, Moe Yo Ken, or "Burn, My Sword" is being uploaded here: [http://moeyoken.blogspot.com]. There hasn't been an upload in a while, because I've been secretly stockpiling my work for the past couple of months in hopes to get a solid rhythm of releases going, and also because I wanted to work ahead and then proofread to help make the story flow more smoothly. The first new chapter will be uploaded this weekend, so for those interested in checking it out, you'll have a couple more days to get caught up with the first five chapters. Burn, My Sword is a historical fantasy story about Hijikata Toshizou, a fairly famous samurai who was the Vice-Captain of the Shinsengumi. If you like stuff like Vagabond, I definitely recommend it.

Aside from writing, I also read voraciously. I am a full time student at Kyoto University, and will be graduating this summer and then continuing as a graduate student, going after my Doctorate in the hopes of becoming a Professor. I work as a bartender part-time and also teach medical English to doctors and nurses at the Kyoto City Hospital.

Of course, translation is my top priority, and I often do commissions and professional translating/interpreting work whenever I get a chance. There will be a book published this fall called "Kaiki: Weird Tales from Japan, Vol. 1" that contains a translation of a manga by Sugiura Hinako I did in it, so check it out if you're into that sort of thing.

6. You've spent a lot of time in Japan, first in high school in 2004 and then again in 2008-9 at university. Tell us about all the experiences, what you learnt, where you went, who you met, anything else etc.

I haven't really been in Japan that long, only about 1 and 3/4 years total. Going to high school in Japan in 2004 really broadened my horizons, though, and that's what got me addicted to the Japanese language. Making friends and hanging out with other Japanese students my age was a priceless experience that I will never forget. I love the countryside, although I was very thankful to be able to come to beautiful Kyoto for college. Japan has provided me with tons of opportunities, and just in the first three months of this year, I've been on TV, put on a film festival, and co-planned a concert for a Japanese angura kei band.

I could go on and on about my experiences in Japan, but it would turn into a short novel, so I think I'll just stop here. If anyone has any questions about study abroad, living in Japan, etc., feel free to contact me. I definitely recommend coming to visit this wonderful country, even if it's just for vacation.

7. What do you think about translators and scanlators 'owning' a series? By that meaning that if one group/person starts translating and scanning a series which is then taken up by another faster group.

I find translators and scanlators claiming 'ownership' to a series and getting mad when things are 'stolen' to be rather hilarious. Anyone who does any sort of work for online scanlations in general is a thief, plain and simple. It seems to me that people who get mad about 'theft' of projects, besides being hypocrites, have ego problems. When you think about it, it's really kind of pathetic. Get a life, people.

With that being said, seeing a project that's been completed in HQ overshadowed by a shitty speed scanlation done by incompetent people just because it comes out a day earlier is indeed disheartening. Really, though, what can you do? Shed your pride and release it anyway, and if you just love scanning the manga, keep doing it for fun. If you'd rather devote your time to another manga that hasn't been released yet, fine. Then, maybe after releasing it, other people will get interested in it and 'steal' it as well. If so, even better! Saves you from having to do the work, and other people can still enjoy the manga.

8. Would you like to use this chance for publicity to beg people for...anything?

I don't beg. :]

Here's the complete list of everything that molokidan has done:

Berserk #259
Bleach #62-64, Side-Story, #188-311
Billy Bat #1-8
Dragon Ball #1-95
Detroit Metal City #1-79, The Day DMC Was Born
Fourteen #1-19
Galaxy Express 999 #1
Gantz #237-246, 249, 252, 255, 258-259
Gintama #21, #33-42
Hellsing #61-83
Hunter x Hunter #261-275
Ikaryaku #1-4
Kamen Teacher #1
Kekkai Sensen #0-3 [complete]
Kirinji (one-shot)
Left Hand of God, Right Hand of the Devil #1-26
Magical Recorder Yuka [complete]
Mephisto #1-11
NANA #50, #67-68
New York Dust (one-shot)
OBAKE LIFE (one-shot)
Orochi #1-6
Pluto #56-64
Pyuu to Fuku! JAGUAR #2-21, 24-43
Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn! #167
REAL #44-48
RIKI-OH #1-75 [complete]
Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoi-yo! Masaru-san #3-79 [complete]
Steel Ball Run #13-14
Sidooh #19
Tanikamen #0-10
Trigun Maximum #27-102, Freed Bird Side-Story [complete]
Variante #5
War Front: Spike Hills #1-6
World Embryo #1-42

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#1. by GGpX ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Yay, Molo!  <3

Hope we can bust out some more Saruwatari stuff before you retire from manga translations. ;p
#2. by Maxy Barnard ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
great to see ya interviewed! especially as not only one of the great gag manga translators (if not the greatest considering your output), but as now i know you're translating Burn, My Sword, something i've been wanting to check out for EONS
#3. by ExiledVip3r ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Nice interview molo. Hope to see you keep translating.
#4. by [Cross] ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Well said Molokidan, great interview.
#5. by Lsshin ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
great interview, actually made me realize something since there has been a group doing all the mangas that we were doing i been getting quite angry lately but you just gave me a wake up call on question number 7 XD
#6. by dink ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Great interview! We could really use more dedicated people like you in this community of ours.
#7. by Mr. Prince (MH's Best Translator)
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Another great interview which I really enjoyed.

I really like your top titles list. It features a lot of good ones.
And also, thanks for your work on PTF!Jaguar!! If you really quit doing fan translations in the future I might take over translating this awesome series...but hopefully you can bring out lots of stories about Piyohiko and co. before "retiring".

Keep up your efforts!
#8. by Esc. ()
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
Thanks again Dan, your translations to date have been exquisite, well as far as I (non-translator) can say, haha.

Looks like you've had quite the experience in Japan, I must visit it someday.

In hopes that me saying this will help you even a little, I wish you the best luck in publishing a successful novel. =D
#9. by goldb (Strongest Under the Sun)
Posted on Apr 13, 2009
thank you for everything molokidan!!! you've helped greatly to bring back dragonball!!!
#10. by Bomber D Rufi ()
Posted on Apr 14, 2009
From one writer to another, good luck. And thanks for all of the translations. I grapple with translating and writing too...but I love both too much to retire. (Boy what a mess I am.) Good luck in all of your endeavors, and Thanks for everything.
#11. by Feanor ()
Posted on Apr 14, 2009
I wish there were more people like you in the scanlating business. We could sure use them.
I'm glad I found you and eternally grateful that you let me use your translations.
I think I'm gonna give your noval a read, it sound real interesting. Similar to what I want to do (if only I had the time for it).
#12. by shrimpy ()
Posted on Apr 14, 2009
Hey Molo, keep up the good work.
If that trip ever pans out that I've been planning, maybe I'll get a chance to hear your story in person ;)

#13. by seme-_-uke ()
Posted on Apr 17, 2009
Amazing...I am also studying abroad for my third time in Japan for a year this time and hope that it will greatly help my translations...if you have any tips or pointers please tell me as I would love to hear from you...great work and I hope I can get as good as you XD

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